Fifteen-year NHL veteran and Edmonton resident Georges Laraque-who began his NHL career with the Oilers-has offered the mayor of Edmonton $100,000 to fund city sports programs if the city will agree to release Lucy, the solitary elephant ailing in Edmonton's Valley Zoo, to a reputable sanctuary in a warmer climate.
Georges Laraque's letter to Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel
December 15 2010
The Honourable Stephen Mandel
Mayor of Edmonton
Dear Mayor Mandel:
I'm writing with a proposal that could benefit the great city of Edmonton and also end one of its recent battles. Edmonton's Valley Zoo has ignored pleas to retire Lucy-its suffering solitary elephant-to a sanctuary in a warmer climate, where she would be in the company of other elephants and be given some relief from her arthritis and other ailments. In exchange for Lucy's immediate release, I would like to offer $100,000 toward any one of the several city projects-such as the new downtown arena or upgrades to the Edmonton Indy racetrack-that need funding.
Hopefully, all the plans to revitalize downtown Edmonton will draw even more entertainment events to the area. However, the zoo's expensive, out-of-date elephant exhibit only stands in the way of progress. Because zoos can't begin to fulfill the social and physical needs of these highly intelligent animals, even zoos in far warmer areas have started to phase out their
elephant exhibits. Lucy's serious health problems and the signs of mental distress that she has long exhibited are reasons enough to send her to a sanctuary in a warmer climate, but I hope that my proposal creates even more incentive. Not only would letting Lucy go generate positive publicity, it would also end a costly and embarrassing lawsuit and help the city fund a worthwhile project.
Thank you for your consideration.
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